Writing Advice from Warren Ellis

On a scale of 1 to 10, this man is awesome. (Original image by Gage Skidmore)

Warren Ellis is one of my favorite writers. One of his most popular creations, Transmetropolitan, is easily one of my favorite works in any medium. He’s also a wonderful man with a prolific online presence who was kind enough to respond to a few questions via email, so here is advice from one of our great modern artists.

Teachers, writers, students, and anyone with any interest in creating art, please pay attention.

1) Independent publishing has taken off in the last several years. You yourself work through Avatar Press, but you’ve also worked for the big labels. Under what circumstances should artists go at it alone or indie and when is it best to look to work for a big outfit?

Indie publishing’s been around in American comics since the 60s.  This isn’t a new thing, and there have been several peaks in indie comics over the decades, some bigger than the current situation.

Ultimately, Marvel and DC aren’t interested in publishing your original work.  Simple as that.  Make your decisions based on whether you intend to paint someone else’s house, or build your own.

2) Opinions differ on writer’s block. Some writers say to just work on something else. Others say to focus on the problem until you crack it. Others don’t even believe it exists. Your thoughts (and possibly remedies)?

Writing is writing.  If one thing isn’t working, move on to another thing, or some correspondence, until you’ve solved the problem.

3) What’s harder? Starting or finishing a story, and why?

Finishing it, by far, because it requires you to ensure that you closed everything you started, and have connected up every loose wire you threaded, and generally that the thing has to make sense.  I always slow down towards the end of a job because I have to make sure everything’s tidied away.

Good Morning Sinners by ~lerms on deviantART

4) You and your work are known for discussing transhumanism. You’re also known to be quite vocal in your fiction regarding your points of view on everything from religion to politics. How can a writer get something so dear and close to his or her heart out in a story without sounding like a preacher? Or do we NEED to be preached through fiction?

I have no issue with being preached to through fiction.  Some of my favourite books — some of the world’s favourite books — have strong opinions that they aren’t shy about firing.  I’d rather read a good book with passion and vigour to it than a piece of brilliant prose styling that was about nothing because it was terrified of offending someone.

5) My classes range from 7th-grade writing camps to undergraduate college courses. The biggest problem my students face is the fear of being heard, of someone calling them out for their opinions. Often, though, they’re just afraid they’re not good writers. What would you say to students who are afraid of writing, of having their opinions heard?

If you prefer not to have your opinions heard, or, indeed prefer not to project any kind of personality or worldview whatsoever, you will probably be very successful and make a lot of money.  It will be my opinion that you have betrayed the role of the writer, but, you know, you probably don’t care about that.  What we say through our fiction is reportage: we explain where we think we are today, and what we think it looks like.  The joy of fiction is that we can explore this by creating characters that we don’t agree with, and characters who contain only facets of our opinions, and therefore by writing we can discover what we truly think about things.

Don’t be afraid of not being a good writer.  None of us start out as being good writers.  Be afraid of not being an honest writer.  At this point in your career, being honest to your work is far more important.  Write every day.  Find out what your voice is.  Find out what you think about things.  Finish pieces.  Hate them.  (Believe me, you will.)  Then read them again, and learn lessons from them, and then write something else.

Warren Ellis is frequently found on Twitter. He may or may not be insane, but it works for him. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you Monday, folks! In the meantime, enjoy a short fan video of Transmetropolitan‘s own Spider Jerusalem explaining how voting works.

Gaming, the Writer, and the Great Mirror

Mary plays a dragonborn. Manny, our new player, gave her a little Charizard toy. Said toy is now her marker on the board. Here's Mary's dragonborn encased in a block of ice because she failed tow saving throws. Any questions?

May 1, 2012

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about tabletop gaming. It’s no surprise, seeing as how “Elves with Shotguns” is just about ready to hit RPGNow. However, I’ve also been thinking about my experience in RPGs. In a way, I can chronicle my journey through gaming the same way I chronicle my journey through writing.

My first character was a runethane named Seth. He was curious about everything (much like me since I was new to the game), and used words to cast his magic. Writing and runes were his power source. This echoes my own mentality that writing was an important, if not vital, aspect of everyday life. However, Seth was also a very squishy mage. Two or three hits and Seth went down faster than Lindsay Lohan trying to get into a nightclub.

Seth was a reflection of how I saw myself. I was fairly new, and while I was proud of my early accomplishments, I knew I could do better.

Ancient rune magic. by ~KypcaHT on deviantART

My next character had no name. He was simply called the Envoy, a warrior with a purpose. He was a soldier through and through, flexible enough to fling razor-tipped darts before unsheathing a sword and going to town on the enemy or either beat a prisoner into submission or scare the information out of him. He even got the kill-shot on an elemental after having been poisoned for much of the fight. All in all, a good sophomore try, but he was tough and boisterous and lacked the subtlety of Seth.

Likewise, my early forays into writing left me with a bruised ego, so I overcompensated in some ways. I wanted the writing to be tougher, grittier, but it only lost the little elements that I enjoyed inserting into my work.

Next came Jareth, a half-elf rogue who could do a lot of things… he just wasn’t that great at any of them. One running gag with my group was that it was better to have me try and lock something than to try and open it. Because I rolled so low, it was just assumed that instead of unlocking treasure chests, I had somehow just put an extra lock on it. Yeah. That bad.

Jareth represents the evolution from enthusiastic to hard-headed and then to jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I had to find the right balance…

Next came Pommel, my warforged fighter. Resolute to not fall into the trap of the meat shield again, I built him to fit the world: this was an evil campaign. He was strong and tough but had some smarts. He wasn’t reckless… except for that level of barbarian that let him rage. Pommel was controlled chaos. He was simple but effective in what he did, and he could be versatile if the need arose.

After realizing I couldn’t do everything as a writer, I did something similar. I started specializing, but I never forgot to pick bits and pieces from here and there to supplement my work. Every writer needs to read poetry, news, and memoirs even if he or she only writes novels. Likewise, a fighter could always benefit from a level of wizard and barbarian.

warforged by ~monkesso on deviantART

Finally, we get to my latest character: Wren the warlock. Wren was very much a hard-hitter. He was a striker. He did the most with the least. He also had that bit of versatility I’d come to embrace in Pommel. He could cast ritual magic aside from blasting things at long range. He was also personable and could handle himself in social situations if need be, but there was nothing that said he wouldn’t pick a pocket if it got him.

Wren embodies my most current attitude towards writing. I write short articles like this, but I also have learned to say the most with the least in everything from Charcoal Streets to the upcoming gaming book. I read news, journals, poetry, and anything else that seems interesting if only to be exposed to new writing styles and keep mine from getting stale. Of course, I don’t doubt my writing and gaming will change. It’s just interesting to me how each stage can get represented by a character form that time period.

And now, back to making prints and proofreading the final chapters.

See you soon. Oh, and feel free to share your own gaming stories below. How do your characters represent you? Or are they reflections of what you wish you could be?

While you ponder that, please enjoy two and a half minutes of sheer nergasmic joy.

Starbucks Beer

Douche alert! Douche alert!

January 27, 2011

It looks like Starbucks is going to start serving alcohol. This isn’t new news. It was hyped last year, I believe. The company is just really putting feelers out there, as any good company should do when introducing a new product.

This, however, is a horrible idea.

Don’t get me wrong. I love me liquor. I love beer. A good wine is a thing of beauty. I love a good bar where the tables have just enough wear and tear to give them personality. I love bartenders that chat and joke around. I love classic rock or rock in general playing over the speakers or a live band doing a decent cover. That’s what a bar is all about.

Starbucks, I will not drink at your places of business.

Other places serve alcohol, and that’s fine. I expect restaurants, whose primary service is food, to remain clean and relatively quiet. A bar is a bar, though. Starbucks is no bar. I will not be able to enjoy a drink there. I’m sorry, but the general clientele at Starbucks scares me. A lot of them go because it’s trendy. I don’t go to a bar because its trendy. I go for the atmosphere and the affordable happy hour special.

Beer by ~Kingxlol on deviantART

Besides, I already know what’s going to happen if Starbucks goes into the beer, wine, and liquor business.

Prices will be criminal. Expect to pay $8-12 for a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. The cheap stuff, too. They’ll tell you it’s imported from some East German country you’ve never heard off and made with exotic hops or something like that, too.

Despite my coworkers being able to bring in a giant tank of coffee in the mornings, I don’t expect I’ll be able to get a Starbucks keg for lunch to share with everyone. That’s just unfair.

It’s corporate, so expect the same atmosphere in one Starbucks bar to be the same as the next: cold and calculated. Forget about the personal touches. One of my favorite bars, Average Joes, is about as down to Earth as you can get. While they polished themselves a bit, all the pictures are of local shows and the waiters and waitresses at least make an effort to be friendly. It’s dark, not gloomy, and they are successful because they actually introduce new features and shows based on audience feedback. Plus, they make a mean pizza.

Being Starbucks, the company will try to sell their beers and spirits as exotic, rare, and hand-made. It will develop a culture of douchebags who insist on only drinking the highest quality beer, much like pretentious bastards who will only drink their rare Jamaican blend harvested by left-handed pygmies and imported on the full moon. I love high-quality beer, but I’m not above drinking a Bud if someone offers it to me.

And finally, they’ll probably have some ridiculous naming structure for glasses of beer: shot, wide, slammer, and crudo.

And if you don’t know Mexican slang, look up the last one.

Okay, maybe this is paranoia, but I really can’t stand Starbucks. If you have to put THAT much stuff into coffee to drink it, you don’t like coffee. You like the toppings. It’s like people who say they like to drink but can’t stand anything stronger than a hard lemonade.

People who can’t drink anything harder than lemonade piss me off.

See you Monday, and keep sharing links! In the meantime, enjoy a bay deer squeaking.

Queen Gaga?

What? Wait. No! Well, maybe. WHAT? NO! Well...

October 10, 2011

She’s a pop culture darling. They’re legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. Together, they fight crime.

I mean… together, they might make a new legendary sound.

It seems Brian May has been courting Lady Gaga to become Queen’s new frontwoman. The band never dissolved. It just stopped playing after Freddy Mercury passed away. I’ve had a lot to say about Lady Gaga, most of it unpleasant. I think she’s too much show. She has a lot of heart and is very talented, but I never really got into her sound. She knows how to get her fans going, though.

On the other hand, Queen is legendary. They created some of the most enduring songs of the last thirty years and sort of fell off the pop culture radar since Freddy left us. Freddy Mercury, though, was his generation’s Lady Gaga: flashy, talented, and passionate.

Could this actually work for anyone? Would a Lady Gaga-led Queen be a good thing?

Queen – Till the End of Time by ~Tabascofanatikerin on deviantART

I see two major obstacles here.

First of all, Lady Gaga is doing fine just the way she is. She’s got hit songs, tours, the whole nine years. There is no reason for her to join a band that hasn’t released anything since the 80’s. Becoming part of a group also means sharing the spotlight, and while Gaga HAS collaborated with other artists, it would set her back.

Second of all, Queen fans might not react well to Gaga as the new voice of Queen. She’s (rightfully so) a very modern, very sugary performer who relies more on shock value than anything else. It’s not that she’s not talented. She can sing and she explores various personal themes with her music, but I, and I think a lot of Queen fans will agree, am afraid that this won’t be so much a collaboration as it will be Queen becoming Gaga’s backup band.

Lady GaGa by *Auri3 on deviantART

…But let’s say that Gaga decides to put aside questions of money and fame and does this for the sake of the music.

Suppose this isn’t Gaga just doing Queen songs or Queen adding some rock to Gaga covers. Suppose we actually get a blend of styles and genres, and actual artists collaboration between today’s queen of pop and yesterdays kings of rock. Suppose Gaga puts aside the meat dress, takes her thorazine, and actually mellows out to create coherent music that doesn’t need to use shock to sell. She’s done it with Tony Bennett already, and she sounds great!

Could it really work? Maybe, and I hate to say it, but I’d be very curious as to what comes out of it.

Notes series – F. Mercury by ~Galathrandir on deviantART

This really could go one of two ways. If Gaga ss business-savvy, she might play it safe and stay away. If she’s really serious about collaborating and not just doing this for a gimmick, she and Queen could make something really unique. She did, after all name herself after a Queen song (though I’m not sure she understood what the song meant).

Well, to perhaps preview what such a super-group might sound like, here is a Lady Gaga/ Queen mix. If you prefer metal, here is an (amazingly good) metal cover of “Bad Romance.” If you prefer something a little harder, try out Lady Gaga meets Judas Priest.

Divine by Zero: Vampire Helen Mirren vs Rick Perry

September 1, 2011

It’s not that I’m ungrateful for getting a teaching job this semester. I just wish I got more than 20 hours with which to prepare. Still, I’ve done a class like this before, so it should be pretty easy. And now, to catch up with the week’s stories and everything else I can’t cover in regular posts, here are the links.

You’re welcome, internet.

  • George Lucas can’t help himself and is making MORE changes to the original trilogy. This time, he’s given Vader an extra “NOOOOO!” at the climbatic fight in Return of the Jedi and he’s altered Kenobi’s krayt dragon call. What else? For my money, if I’m going to shell out money for remastered movies, how about getting all the dialogue redone for the prequels? I mean the words themselves AND the delivery.
  • Forget Cliffnotes. THIS is how you condense a literary classic.
  • I want this library. Now. I know I had a birthday a week ago, but I still want this. Seriously, if you all get together, you might afford it if a third of you donated a kidney. You can decide who.
  • Rick Santorum, the man who really wishes he wasn’t on Google, now thinks the gay community is on a jihad against him. Make up your mind, man! Are they Muslims or gays? Or gay Muslims? Or gays who turn Muslims? Why not just say their communist Muslim gays?
  • Rick Perry has to do a lot of damage control… especially about his own book. Here’s a tip for anyone planning to run for public office: if you’re going to regret it, don’t say it or do it. Me?  I could never run for president, but I think I’ve guaranteed with this website I’ll never hold public office.
  • And finally, if you can text, text “PRETTY” to 69491 every day this month, I would love all of you. I’d have your baby. One collective baby. Anyway, check out Pretty Visitors on Facebook, Youtube, or if you’re in Texas, try to catch one of their gigs. Tony, the front man, is one of my oldest friends, and he and the band deserve the exposure. I will work to help expose them to the world. See you tomorrow so we can discuss the wackos from this article a little more. Apparently, we didn’t get their argument.

The United States of Randomology

There are rocky shores ahead for some very rich libertarians...

August 18, 2011

Ever get the feeling that life is just too stiming with all its rules, regulations, and silly things like social norms and boundaries? Hey, if you’re filthy rich and want to start over, why not pitch in and start your own country out at sea?

That’s just what an intrepid group of libertarians are doing. They’re going to set up artificial islands and start new societies outside of the reach of other nations. Basically, these places will have all but the most basic laws, regulations, and even then, it sounds like they’ll be free to build, do, and conduct themselves however they want.

For my part, I’m going to just wait for the first pig head on a stick to appear.

Lord of the Flies by *skottieyoung on deviantART

It’s not that I don’t think humans can function without rules and regulations. It’s that those rules and regulations are there to keep the people who would abuse the system in check. Minimum wage? That kept me fed for several years. Gun laws? They keep the nut down the street from saving up and buying an M60 to put on his roof. Building and health codes? They make it so that people have to make sure offices and homes won’t catch on fire and our food isn’t filled with yummy lead.

But, I can hear the libertarians say, people are smart enough to not sell products that kill, build buildings that won’t collapse, and buy guns responsibly.

Really? Is that why so many Right-wingers and libertarians want these rules taken away? Because they think they’re redundant? I got news for you. Libertarians want these rules taken away because THEY DON’T WANT TO FOLLOW THEM.

Things like minimum wage and health codes are things that lower the bottom line. Business cares about profit. I wouldn’t be surprised if these islands collapse under the weight of human greed and self-centeredness within six months.

libertarian demotivator by ~Party9999999 on deviantART

The idea, though, did make me ask myself what I would do if I was given a small island to make civilization. I think I’ve narrowed down my list of rules to a few choice rules.

  1. All people are free to worship or not worship as they see fit. They do not, however, have the right to use their religious views as facts and must still base all arguments on things other people can verify.
  2. Any performer that lip-synchs or auto-tunes during a concert will have to refund every ticket. And no, you can’t just put a disclaimer on the ticket.
  3. There will be NO political parties.
  4. Librarians, teachers, and educators will be heavily sought-after and will be compensated accordingly.
  5. School policy will be decided by teachers and educators. Parents and politicians can stay out of the final decision.
  6. Students will be held responsible for their work.
  7. Parents will be held responsible for students once said students leave the school.
  8. Happy Hour will be like Siesta. Everyone gets to go out for a few hours and just relax.
  9. If you own a truck with aftermarket shock-absorbers so that the whole thing is fifteen feet tall, you MUST own a ranch or otherwise justify having your headlights at eye-level with everyone else.
  10. High-speed internet is a right.

And what about you? What rules would you institute in your little island nation? See you tomorrow!

Anarchy by ~wildhearted on deviantART

Divine by Zero: Batman Rises Against Palin’s Movie

July 19, 2011

It’s going to be an interesting two weeks. Mary and I are moving in August. I have to get things for the high school summer camp. I started The Weekly Muse, and I’m getting ready to get a podcast up and running once I figure out the software. In the meantime, expect articles on time and general weirdness on the Facebook page and the Twitter feed.

And now, on to the randomness!

  • Who are the most violent people in the world? The answer might surprise you.
  • Herman Cain, a man who has whined about race more times than anyone in recent memory, now claims it should be legal to ban mosques from being built. His rationale? Islam combines government and religion and is therefore illegal.  By that reasoning, his party’s insistence on combining the Bible of law would make THEM illegal.
  • The Thing stands as one of the great horror films of the 80’s a truly disturbing movie where anyone could be the enemy. The paranoia made it awesome. That being said, and given my caution when it comes to sequels or remakes of classic works, I’m actually a little optimistic about the prequel, strangely also titled The Thing. Here’s the first trailer, and let’s hope it doesn’t suck.
  • Rebecca Black is coming back. And I think I just gave them a slogan. D’oh!
  • The new photos from the reboot of Spiderman have me thinking that they might actually know what they’re doing. Spidey looks, well, like he does in the comic. The costume changes are odd, but at least they have web shooters!
  • And finally… some of you already saw this, but here’s the official, cleaned-up version of the first teaser for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Please, dear gods of the four winds, do not let this get threequel rot. I will hunt people down with a fork.

Divine by Zero: The Knights of Beiber and the Chainmail Bikini

June 30, 2011

Holy crap! A new Divine by Zero? Really?

Yeah. See, time’s going to get really tight in the next few weeks, and I have to be a lot more conscious of the time I have to write. I’m going to start teaching a middle school writing course over the next few weeks, so there goes a lot of my time. Combined with moving and a lot of other things, and I get maybe an hour a day to do these posts, so these Divine by Zero articles will be the place to go for the weird and the things I just don’t have the time to write about in the regular articles.

Let’s get started with today’s batch.

  • What would happen if the Beatles got signed today? The results are… terrifying.
  • Chihuahuas are the tiny snacks of the animal kingdom. They’re uppity and serve no purposes… until I saw this little guy working as a sheep dog. A chihuahua sheep dog. let that sink in for a moment.
  • And yes, I know that was a meme within a meme about memes. Let’s pay homage to the original guy, shall we?
  • If you watch science fiction or horror in any way shape or form, you’ve probably seen Brian Thompson. You may not know his name, but you’ve seen him. He’s one of those guys you just know from his voice, and aside from starring in a lot of cheesy movies (Mortal Kombat sequel, anyone?) he has a lot more going for him. Check out the last paragraph in this bio.
  • If anybody out there reads Japanese, could they please tell me the context of this nifty little English phrase in this book? I have a feeling that knowing the answer may be worse than not knowing, but I’m willing to give it a shot.
  • On the other hand, Pat Robertson was not amused. he goes on an warn us about raping angels and that no civilization that has accepted homosexuality has survived. Well, NO civilization has survived intact.
  • And finally, this is for the gaming geeks out there. I always had a problem with the whole concept of “the chainmail bikini,” not only because it objectified women and made it hard to invite girls to games, but because in a world of dragons and magic, I actually found THAT to be the least believable thing in the world. That being said, how would you average adventuring female react to actually having to wear this? And who thought it would be a good idea?

Crimes of Conscience

Hey, you! You're making me question my beliefs! Stop it!

April 27, 2011

It was bound to happen.

The Right Wing has officially jumped into Orwellian territory. Remember that plot point in 1984 wherein the Party would use phrases like “Freedom is Slavery” and “War is Peace”? The idea was that having the population believe two mutually exclusive ideas would create such a dissonance that more mundane lies would be much more easily accepted. It is the willingness to believe something that cannot be true by its very nature that would make the population easier to control.

Behold the American Conservative Movement.

The Heritage Foundation is pushing for something called “conscience rights.” In essence, they claim that things like abortion and gay rights are assaults on freedom.

Think about that for a second. When the blood stops shooting out of your nose, keep reading.

. Cognitive Dissonance . by *DigitalBaptism on deviantART

The argument goes something like this. Say you believe that homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God. By making same-sex marriage legal and otherwise embracing the homosexual community as normal members of society with the same rights and freedoms as everyone else, the government is encroaching on your moral fiber by making something you believe is a sin acceptable.

I’m really hoping you see where this plan falls apart.

They want to push to make things illegal because they are against their own morality, a morality that is quite clearly based on religious belief. But they’re not phrasing it like that. They’re phrasing it to somehow mean that we, as a collective, are outraged.

So… in order to protect speech, religion, and the right to love each other, you must take those rights away from others who believe, say, and love what you will not. After all, having worked with gays and having lived next door to one for three years clearly affected my ability to be attracted to women.

Love has no Limits by =MyLastBlkRose on deviantART

Okay, I‘m being snippy. The specific example they go for is that if a doctor against abortion is asked to perform one, he will have to comply. This is clearly an assault on his morality, right?

Well, if he didn’t want to deal with this, he shouldn’t have made choices to put himself in this position.

So, if I am offended that Republicans are against gay rights, immigrants, and a woman’s right to choose, can I deny to help students at TAMIU who identify themselves as Republicans and write papers on conservative opinions? I’d be helping the ideological opposition spread its message, and I just couldn’t live with that.

Without actually claiming and admitting that this course of action is about fundamentalist Christian morality trying to weasel its way into our legal system, they’ve set themselves up for failure. A small part of me wants for this to get taken up just so the Right sees the whole thing blow up in its face like liberal-hearted claymore.

A claymore filled with progressivism!

Explosion are Always Fun by ~GreenApples109 on deviantART

Hey, look! Links!

  • Cupcake-flavored vodka? I predict scores of sorority girls chucking this stuff, then puking their intestines out at parties in the very near future.
  • If you live in Tennessee, you will no longer be able to say “gay.” More specifically, schools won’t be able to address homosexual issues. Way to go, Tennessee. It’s not like gay teens were already marginalized, right?
  • And speaking of awesome things that don’t have anything to do with this, a new photo of Spiderman’s new costume (with battle damage) for the reboot film was released. The best part, we can now confirm the mechanical web-shooters are real. Even though it’s not the exact costume from the comics, I really like it.
  • And finally, Alessandra Torresani and some more geeks star in this wonderfully tongue-in-cheek video, “Tonight I’m Frakking You.” Can you name every character, reference, and actor by the end? Don’t think so. Anyway, enjoy the slave Leia outfit, female Ghostbusters, and in-jokes out the butt. See you Friday!

The Book of Gaga: Why the Right Needs to SHUT UP

Her will be done! Even if her will is bat-shit crazy costumes!

April 22, 2011


Here we go again. You know, I respect Lady Gaga for doing something outrageous and performing well, though I’m still up in the air as to whether she’s stealing from Madonna, but could the Right Wing PLEASE stop using her as some sort of moral barometer? For that matter, stop taking pop culture as a sign of the End Times.

The Meat-Wearing One released a new song, “Judas,” that she sings as Mary Magdalene. The lyrics are found here, and you can hear the song by clicking the video below.

Let me start by saying that I cannot listen to this song more than three times because the music’s just… ear-splittingly horrible.

But let’s look at the lyrics for a second. It’s basically a love song to Judas Iscariot. Okay. Weirder things have been done in the name of art. And who was Judas Iscariot? Why, he was only the man responsible for the greatest betrayal in all of Christian teaching! He kissed our Lord Jesus Christ and sentenced him to death. How DARE she sing a song, as a harlot no less, to the man who killed Jesus?

Well, it’s more complicated than that.

If you believe that Jesus was prophesized to die, that his death was needed to save the world, then I propose that Judas was nothing more than a patsy. Judas was framed. Think about it. If this had to happen, if there was no way to avoid it, then he had no say in the matter and was therefore a victim just like Christ. Anyone would have fit the bill. In that sense, the lyrics touch upon the subject by having Mary Magdalene forgive Judas and apparently love him.

That’s not enough for some people. Cue Right Wing hysteria and outrage:

Oh, the number of things that are wrong with that statement… But first, let me wash off after those last ten pseudo-pervy moments…

Lady Gaga does not have a problem with religion. As was stated in the interview, she’s exploring her own religious background. She’s not going after Muslims, as Donohue suggested, because she’s not deconstructing Islam. It’s the same reason I’m making Charcoal Streets a deconstruction of Hispanic Christian beliefs. That’s my background. I’m not about to use European mythology because, frankly, I’m only about one-eight French.

And someone else already cornered the faerie novel.

Donohue then laments that, while Gaga has talent, she’s part of a pattern of artists that seem to go after religion. Why, oh, why, won’t the artists leave him alone?!

Maybe it’s because, again, WE LIVE IN JESUS LAND. Look, I have my qualms with religion in general. And yes, I guess some of the things I say in Charcoal Streets could be applied to organized belief, but I’m targeting Christianity (and I can’t believe I’m writing this) much like Lady Gaga is looking at religion in her song.

We’re working with what we know.

Christianity by ~TechnoJon on deviantART

It gets even better when Donohue says that Christians don’t enjoy the protection of Muslims because Muslims will react violently if you mock or criticize their religion. Well, yes and no. While I concede that a lot, if not most, Muslims would be offended by something as supposedly innocent as an image of the Prophet, and I’ve explained why that’s actually a really stupid belief, that’s not the point. Just because members of another religion are willing to behead people for the slightest religious offense does not mean that ALL religions are off-limits.

Furthermore, the belief that artists don’t need to criticize religion really misses the point. It’s movie Imperial Stormtrooper-like accuracy. Of course artists need to go there. Hell, I LIVE there. Artists, as John Lennon said, point a mirror to society. That’s our job. If you don’t like what you see, close your eyes and be happy in the darkness.

::Art:: by ~10-GunShOTreSiDUe-01 on deviantART

You can’t lament that radical Muslims will kill you for criticism, then turn around and say you wish you had that kind of protection. You can’t lament that radical Islam has no tolerance, then complain that someone is looking at your religion through an artistic lens. This sums up the Right Wing’s stance to a T.

“Critique anything you want except my own beliefs and stances.”

Really classy.

Also… “You hang out with Bill Donohue, I’ll buy you a beer, honey, and maybe we can straighten you out.” Did anyone else feel dirty after hearing that? Like, “stepped in gum and had to clean it off with my fingernails” dirty?

Anyway, let’s get some links up in!

  • Just in time for Easter, check out the latest blog from the Cheezeburger network… Sketchy Bunnies!
  • Laredo, Texas has done some… interesting things in the past, but this little error in a sign on the loop is nigh inexcusable. Way to piss off the writer.
  • And finally, Weird Al is one of my personal heroes. He takes pop culture apart and gives us back comedy gold. It looks like Lady Gaga didn’t like his newest parody and so didn’t give him permission to use it… but she finally said yes! Take a listen to “Perform This Way,” which takes a few swipes the Gaga, but it’s all in good fun. Have a good Easter weekend and I’ll see you Monday.